Happy Ice, Pure Ice merge operations

Business reporter

Friday, March 15, 2019

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Pure National Ice Ltd will get a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility valuing over $350 million, following a merger between the company and Norbrook Equity Partners' owned, Happy Ice.

The merged company, now Pure National Limited, hopes to better service the growing tourism and commercial sector from the expanded operation. The ice maker is also optimistic that it will be able to tackle rapidly increasing electricity and fuel prices through the joint investment.

Chairman of Norbrook Equity, Khary Robinson, in an e-mailed response to questions from the Jamaica Observer, said the company is evaluating two proposed locations for the facility and expects to make a decision over the next two weeks.

Pure National plans to start construction within the next 60 days, with expected completion date over the next six months.

Aside from the capital injection in the ice maker's operation, Robinson noted that the merged entities will benefit from opportunities to deploy best practices of both companies.

“This ranges from better production processes to enhanced quality controls. Additionally, given the economies of scale, our service and delivery capacity has increased so as to allow for better responsiveness to customers,” the executive told the Caribbean Business Report.

Together, the combined company is said to be the largest ice manufacturing and distribution platforms in the English-speaking Caribbean, distributing more than five million bags of ice annually under the brands Happy Ice, Kingston Ice, and Pure National Ice.

Norbrook and Pure National have both had meaningful and successful tenure in the ice industry. Norbrook was a minority investor when Braywick Capital acquired Happy Ice in 2008 and has stayed on until they made the decision to acquire the entire business in 2018. Conversely, Pure National which started operating four years ago has grown to secure a foothold in the market.

When questioned about how the three companies will differentiate themselves in the market space Robinson said, “Can't answer now due to strategic/competitive reasons.”

The rebranded company will be led by Managing Director Theresa Lindo who has over five years of leadership experience running Norbrook's water business – JamAgua and Blue Mountain Peak, and local e-commerce business Mailpac.

Lindo will join Anthony Phillips and David Walton, who together spent three years successfully building Pure National with Peter Buckley, Jamaica's longest-tenured ice entrepreneur. They will absorb the roles of operations manager and sales and marketing manager at Pure National, respectively.

The management team plans on immediately leveraging the expanded scope of the company to bolster its local and regional prospects.

“We are excited for the future of this combined platform as the new company will be better equipped and able to serve the evolving needs of our customers. With a broader infrastructure and an enhanced team, the customers of both companies will experience a marked increase in service quality,” said Jamie Chang, director at Pure National.

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